Advertising and marketing have been moving in the digital direction for quite some time, albeit incrementally. But the COVID-19 pandemic has truly galvanised the industry to adopt digital transformation and adapt to new ways of working, such as virtual working environments and client–brand cohabitation.
Here’s how we see things progressing as businesses and agencies try to overcome legacy issues while implementing new technology and hybrid models for effective global delivery.
Adopting new models and ways of working
Brands and agencies have traditionally been thought of as separate entities. Sure, we work together — and at times collaborate closely — but we’ve typically operated within our own frameworks, in service of our own goals.
However, a fast-changing world requires increased agility and efficiency, which means agencies and brands need to commit to working together more closely. To achieve this, hybrid models are growing in popularity:
In-house agencies: By bringing the traditional agency model in-house, a brand can cut costs, eliminate the lengthy pitch process, and develop ideas and strategies themselves. This allows for speed, agility and well-honed alignment. With time, however, the fresh perspective a brand would usually get from outside talent will diminish unless new employees are consistently brought into the fold.
Onsite agencies: Another option is cohabitation. This means agency and brand retain autonomy but have a much closer working relationship. With this model, information and technology can be shared across business borders in service of meeting goals with more efficacy.
But for effective global delivery in the ‘new normal’, brands require agencies with access to resources that cater to specific markets, quickly, efficiently and relevantly. In the past, communication and alignment would have been a problem, but the drive to work remotely through virtual environments has given rise to a workforce that is starting to trust and become more comfortable with working together, from anywhere. Agencies with global footprints (be they digital or physical) are thus emerging as popular means of penetrating new markets and growing in existing ones.
A greater focus on the customer journey and personalisation at scale
Marketing has been spearheading personalisation for close to a decade. Now, with more channels than ever and greater automation capabilities to take advantage of them, we are seeing genuine personalisation come to fruition. However, we’re not quite there yet.
In terms of global delivery, there needs to be a happy medium between automation at scale and crafting experiences that are personalised for every touchpoint in the customer journey. In a recent Wunderman Thompson report, executive comments:
“If you could build creative that’s world-class, but have it be more modular than the automated system, that’s where the sweet spot is. You could still maintain high-level creativity, but you find value in having those assets created at a more personalised or a segment level—without blowing your creative budget out of the water to do it.”
In the future, we believe that new technology with the ability to personalise on a global scale will emerge, allowing brands and agencies to optimise content and brand collateral for different global markets at the drop of a hat.
The next generation of working is upon us
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to re-evaluate our ways of working, and it’s up to us — both client and agency — to embrace the ‘new normal’ in the service of quicker, more efficient global delivery.
In today’s hyper-connected landscape, we believe that businesses need a resilient, customer-centric core that fuels progress and actively defines global delivery success. That’s why we’re committed to transforming businesses using the best available technology.